Sport and exercise more popular

Dutch people are exercising more and actually taking part in sports rather than just being armchair supporters, the government’s social policy think tank SCP said on Tuesday.

The new report showed that a gym workout has joined swimming and cycling in the top three exercises of choice. Jogging is now in fourth place.
According to the report, 65% of people between 18 and 80 years old took exercise or played sport once a month in 2007, up from 60% in 2000. ‘We expect this trend to continue,’ says the SCP.
At the same time, the number of people with club membership dropped to 47%, a downward trend which began in the 1990s.
The SCP also found that actual visits to matches increased and the popularity of watching sport on tv or listening to it on the radio was down. And the membership of sports clubs has shifted. Football and tennis still head the list, but golf is now more popular than gymnastics.
More money

The report says the government has increased its spending on subsidising sport from €1bn in 2000 to €1.4bn in 2006. ‘Several new college-based sports courses have been introduced and the number of students is growing,’ says the SCP. ‘And extra money for top sport means the Netherlands can achieve better international results.’
Sport and exercise are promoted by the government to counteract the effects of obesity but, says the report, the number of people over the age of 15 with weight problems has increased, from 44% in 2000 to 46% in 2007.

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